header-tagline.png
The Glove Maker's Blog, Glove Sourcing Strategies for Retailers and Brands

Glove Manufacturing Strategies: Outsourcing vs. Direct?

Posted by Roger Heumann

Nov 14, 2013 5:47:00 PM

To make gloves well, it takes special skills and experience at all points during the process.  

Some companies have the necessary capabilities within their ranks, others do not. 

It may sound strange coming from a glove manufacturer, but outsourcing can be the right solution for some companies and not others. 

If you are developing a line of gloves and face a ”make or buy” glove making decision, here are some arguments pro and con, for outsourcing vs. going direct.

Factors that Favor Direct Manufacturing

There’s more to making a good glove that meets the eye.  When we see glove quality or design that isn't up to par, or an overall product that falls short of enhancing a brand, that's a missed opportunity. 

Having said that, some retailers and wholesalers design and manufacture gloves quite well.

How to assess which camp you should be in?

  • If your glove sales are growing,
  • If your department is nicely profitable,
  • If consumer satisfaction is high
  • if target retails are being met and margins are good
  • if the product looks and feels great
  • if your team has the bandwidth to manage it
 As they say … if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  You are doing a good job making gloves direct ... onward!

The Case for Outsourcing

Sometimes, sourcing and oversight of glove manufacturing doesn’t always fit within a company’s processes, expertise, or infrastructure.  Gloves and other smaller volume accessories are sometimes the stepchildren of apparel or other accessories, for instance.  

In that case, outsourced manufacturing can be a nice profit center without adding organizational complexity and overhead. Turn-key glove manufacturing can be a good solution when gloves fall outside a company’s core competency. 

Factors that Favor Outsourcing;

Consider outsourcing if:

  • sales aren’t growing the way they should be
  • your gloves don’t look and feel great, and you don't have the internal expertise to improve it
  • consumer reviews aren’t very positive, or returns are up
  • internal resources are being strained
  • you aren't getting you the results you need from managing the direct relationship
  • overseeing the supply chain isn’t efficient, creating higher overhead, margin or price issues
  • you don't have the bandwidth to stay on top of new developments -- technical materials innovations for glove manufacturers across a range of outdoor categories, for instance.
If you face any of these issues, consider outsourced manufacturing options.

Hybrid Solutions

Many times, outsourcing is not an all or nothing decision. 

There can be a hybrid solution that allows you to outsource the part of the process that falls outside your wheelhouse, and maintain the part of the process that is a core competency. 

For some customers, we handle a specific part of the process, and are turnkey with others. 

Which glove manufacturing solution is best for you?

The answer to this question is really a personal one, and differs for every organization.  

Have you had first hand experience with this decision?

  • What do you think are the key factors and pitfalls to be aware of?

Please share your experience with others, in the comments.

Since gloves are all we do at Olympia, to discuss your particular situation with expert glove makers, click below:

      

Topics: Glove Manufacturers, Design, Outsourcing

     

We write about:

  • glove category trends and innovation
  • product development and materials
  • sourcing and supply chain issues
  • other gloves manufacturing topics

Ask a question, comment ... or get in touch to guest post!